Greetings St. John’s Lutheran Church!
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” –Matthew 4:1-4
40 Days and 40 Nights
The season of Lent is about to begin, a time of reflection and meditation on our faith. The length of the season recalls the forty days of rain in the great flood, the forty years of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness, and the forty days of Jesus’ temptation by the devil. For forty days, many engage in a “Lenten discipline,” a regular routine or practice, that brings them closer to God. The traditional disciplines based on passages from Matthew 6 are almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. Which practice will help you grow closer to God this Lent?
Almsgiving is the Lenten discipline of charitable giving. Check out page 5 for a calendar that can guide you in collecting items for our local food pantry. Each week when you do your regular shopping, you can add one or more of these items to your cart as a practice of helping those who are food insecure in our communities.
Prayer is the Lenten discipline of spending intentional time in the presence of God. Throughout Lent, you have the opportunity of joining us for this year’s Midweek Lenten Series, “By Faith.” During worship, we will be engaging in the practice of Lectio Divina, a meditative way of reflecting on scripture. Check out page 4 for the weekly schedule.
Fasting is the Lenten discipline of abstaining from something in a way that leads us to gratitude for all that God has given us. You might eliminate an unhealthy food from your diet to better steward God’s gift of your body. You might abstain from screens (phones, computers, television) for an hour or two each day or a day each week as a way of better stewarding God’s gift of time. Or you could abstain from single-use plastics (grocery bags, disposable silverware, packaged foods) as a way of better stewarding God’s gift of the earth.
Whatever you choose as your Lenten discipline, I pray that it brings you closer to God this season.
In Christ, Pastor Kat